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Likely new UAW president praised

DETROIT, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The likely next president of the U.S. United Auto Workers union has wide-ranging respect among both labor and management, analysts say.

Auto industry observers say UAW Vice President Bob King, 63, expected to win election next week as the successor to retiring UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, has the academic and industry qualifications to be an effective leader in a turbulent time, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

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"He has the best education and the greatest respect of outsiders that range from financial analysts, academics, politicians and corporate executives," Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., told the newspaper.

"He is someone who both has a very strong record within the union and a very high regard even by those who have been on the other side of the table," added Harley Shaiken, a labor relations professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

The newspaper said King, a journeyman electrician and a University of Detroit Mercy-trained lawyer, has long been been preparing himself for the union's top job, but encountered a setback in November when more than 70 percent of rank-and-file UAW members rejected concessions sought by Ford Motor Co.

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